Hartford Business Journal

October 19, 2020

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24 Hartford Business Journal • October 19, 2020 • www.HartfordBusiness.com OPINION & COMMENTARY OTHER VOICES Transfer Act changes leave unfinished business By Andrew Davis, Aaron Levy, Matthew Ranelli & Alfredo Fernandez T he notorious Connecticut environmental law, the Transfer Act, is broken and a hurdle to investment, redevelopment and even the cleanup of contaminated sites. Thankfully, the General Assem- bly during a recent special session passed amendments (SS PA 20-9) that include several long-needed fixes. However, these changes, while helpful, do not immediately address the fundamental problems with the Transfer Act. To do that, the amendments included a framework for a tiered release-based program that will eventually replace the Transfer Act, i.e., one based on an actual spill rather than the "establishment" status and transfer of a site (or business). Conceptually, the shift to a release-based program is welcome and overdue, but the release-based amendments reflect a "ready, shoot, aim" approach and haven't been fully vetted with, nor gained broad- based acceptance by, the regulated community; therefore, the devil will be in the details for the rollout. There is much work to do and it will require significant involvement from real estate, legal and technical stakeholders with good peripheral vision and experience with other states' release-based programs. The ultimate success of replac- ing the Transfer Act will be contin- gent upon effective integration of such changes with other aspects of the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection's (DEEP) evolving regulatory programs and proper agency staffing/budget. While we have lived with the Transfer Act for 35 years, most stake- holders will be happy to see it go. Embracing a release-based pro- gram will move Connecticut to a re- medial program more aligned with the rest of the country and should level the competitive field for invest- ment and spark redevelopment if properly implemented and staffed. Ultimately, to develop a program that provides the necessary and appropriate environmental protec- tions while accounting for practical economic and business realities, there must be input from a diverse stakeholder group. To that end, the amendments es- tablish a working group co-chaired by commissioners from DEEP and the Department of Economic and Community Development and chairpersons and ranking mem- bers of the Environment and Com- merce committees, transactional environmental attorneys, commer- cial real estate brokers and others. The working group will meet monthly until the regulations are adopted. DEEP will also need to convince the General Assembly to adequately fund the new program to ensure sufficient, well-trained staff. No matter how good the intentions and design of the program, it cannot succeed if DEEP does not have the resources to inter- act with the regulated community and timely process release notifica- tions and close out reported spills. It also will be critical to integrate the development of a release-based program with other aspects of DEEP's regulatory program. Even if everyone agrees the Transfer Act should be replaced (which it should be), implementing a release-based program will pres- ent significant challenges that will need to be addressed. DEEP and other stakeholders will need to work cooperatively to develop a program that appropri- ately protects human health and the environment but also em- braces the realities of our business community and economy. Andrew Davis , Aaron Levy, Matthew Ranelli & Alfredo Fernandez are attorneys at Shipman & Goodwin LLP. OTHER VOICES Black talent exists — if you search for it By Karen Hinds A fter Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf recently stated that there is "a very limited pool of Black talent to recruit from," I did a quick random search on LinkedIn and discovered quite a few Black professionals actively looking for work. I decided to use my LinkedIn timeline to feature a few of those professionals. For decades, companies nationwide have lamented about their inability to source Black talent, but statements like Mr. Scharf's highlight much bigger problems that need to be addressed in order to find the abundance of high-quality Black talent trying to break down the barriers to access opportu- nities. Companies should be asking themselves the following questions: Is our bias showing? Every company will say they want to hire the best candidate for the job, but who is the best candidate when our biases predetermine what the best candidate looks like? What image pops into your mind when you think of what a supervisor looks like? Or a C-suite professional? How many of you actually envision a Black person as the leader at any lev- el? Those unconscious biases directly affect recruiting and hiring practices and that needs to be addressed. How strong is our social capital? Higher-level jobs are often filled through referrals, but Black profes- sionals first need access to these power circles. How many Black professionals do you invite to your power circles, your golf games, cocktail parties or even the informal mentoring circles where you are grooming the next leaders? How often do you use your social capital to make introductions for Black professionals so they can have access to decision-makers? It is imperative for leaders to step out of their comfort zone to meet and include Black professionals. This is especially critical in the C- suite where your network is one of the many factors that determine who will move up through the invisible sieve that filters out many Black candidates. Are we fishing in the wrong pond? Did you know there are 107 Histori- cal Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) with more than 228,000 of the country's best and brightest stu- dents? How many of those HBCUs are on your recruiting list? There are 12 community colleges in Connecticut; how many are on your recruiting list? Oftentimes companies recruit at senior executives' alma maters or schools regarded as top schools. This is clearly a message of exclusion as many of those institutions struggle with diverse representation in their student body. Don't forget the many Black professional associations that exist to support the growth of black talent. Have you done more than sending job notices? Who are we grooming? When companies hire Black profession- als, is there a plan to groom and prepare them to move through and up the organization? Who is step- ping forward to act as a sponsor? Who is addressing the systemic hindrances? Unfortunately, in America there is story after story of Black talent who voice their experiences of being undermined, overlooked, and invali- dated as they struggle to combat the unconscious biases, double stan- dards, and racial stereotyping that obstruct their progress to advance within their organizations. There are 2 million Black Ameri- cans over the age of 25 with ad- vanced degrees, but only 4% of execu- tive positions on S&P companies are occupied by Black professionals. How is that possible? Black talent exists. Karen Hinds is the founder/CEO of Workplace Success Group in Waterbury and author of five books. Karen Hinds

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